The past couple of months have been so exciting! I started the season off with a number of concerts in Canada, highlights among them a performance with the great Rolston Quartet and my solo recital at the Honens Festival, which received a fantastic review from the Calgary Herald:
“Namoradze is not your conventional competition virtuoso. As it concerns virtuosity, however, Namoradze yields nothing to overtly flashier pianists, as was evident in his stunning encore of the well-known D-sharp minor Etude by Scriabin that concluded his program.
Fundamentally, however, Namoradze wears his enormous technique lightly. He sits quietly, with mostly just his fingers in evidence. His playing is effortless to a degree that can hardly be imagined, and the focus of his performance is entirely upon musical values. And here the range of his imagination in the shaping of line, control of texture, and fleetness in execution takes one’s breath away… It was quasi-mystical experience, in which the sound of the instrument, poetic ideas, textures and musical figures were combined in a unique synthesis.
Namoradze took his audience into his own special musical place, one that certainly involved technical execution, but where the aural center was always on melody and where texture and shape intertwine… Namoradze performed two Scriabin works as encores, happily for me two of my favorite pieces, the early C-sharp minor etude and the equally famous D-sharp minor etudes previously mentioned. Both were the last word in how this music might be played, and served as capstone pieces in a concert as impressive as any I have recently heard and which brought the audience to its feet in its enthusiastic admiration.”—Kenneth DeLong, Calgary Herald [read more]
This was soon followed by three performances of Schumann’s Piano Concerto with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra as part of the inaugural concerts of their new music director, Ken-David Masur. It’s a thrill to work with such a brilliant conductor and wonderful musicians, and the critical reception was glowing:
“Namoradze captured all of these elements in a charismatic performance that ranged from running passages played in shimmering whispers to bold emphatic declarations. This was a captivating delivery of an exquisite piece of music.”—Elaine Schmidt, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
“Namoradze, a rising young Georgian pianist and composer, was similarly eloquent in the Schumann concerto. Lingering over Schumann’s tender, singing melodies, shading each phrase with precisely chosen color, he drew us into an intimate universe. In its virtuoso flights, his sparkling runs and chords flashed by like quicksilver.”—Wynne Delacoma, Classical Voice America [read more]
After highly anticipated, sold-out performances in Georgia and Canada, I appeared in Israel for some solo, chamber and concerto performances, receiving more rave reviews:
“I discovered an amazing, unconventional personality—27-year-old pianist and composer Nicolas Namoradze, who has something to say to the world… In Scriabin’s F Sharp Major Sonata, the pianist’s super-sensual musicality seemed to find its Grail… Namoradze feels everything in his own way, whether it’s desire, impulse, passion, intimacy — and with a sense of proportion in everything. Nicolas Namoradze is not just a poet of the piano, he is its artist. He displays no visible effort, an ease of imagination, harmony of proportions, perfect balance, impeccability and originality in tone. Each phrase seems to be crafted and considered, yet at the same time breathes with true vitality. They seem familiar (it is tempting to draw an analogy with Sofronitsky, the best performer of Scriabin, in my opinion) yet also surprising and unexpected, with unique tempi, pauses and contrasts of sonority. He possesses a sophisticated and rich palette of sound shades — what myriad colors in one pianissimo, sometimes brooding, sometimes windy, sometimes careless, sometimes wise — supplemented by an inquisitiveness and strength of mind, and this spirituality is transmitted to the audience. Namoradze can achieve all of this with this fingers, without having to resort to acting with faces or body movements.
After the Scriabin, Namoradze played his own Etudes I-VI — and this, believe me, is an alternative universe, mobile, like a breathing Solaris, almost magical, with whimsical, unpredictable behavior… Namoradze’s sharp mind gives birth to things that hard to play, but which are charmingly simple in their complexity. Everything is not as it seems, starting with a system that seems tonal, and ending with sonorous tricks in the spirit of Escher’s paintings.”—Lina Goncharskaya, Culbyt [read more]
In other news, a video masterclass of mine on Schumann’s Arabesque has been released on tonebase, a site where some of today’s leading performers share their insights on key pieces of the piano repertoire. More video masterclasses of mine—on Bach’s Partita No. 6 in E minor and a number of Scriabin Etudes—will be released in the coming weeks, and the platform features videos from, among others, luminaries such as Garrick Ohlsson, Jerome Lowenthal and Jon Kimura Parker. This is a wonderful resource for pianists (professional or not) as well as music lovers simply looking to deepen their understanding of some beloved pieces of music. I encourage you to check it out!
Looking back, 2019 has been such a milestone year for me, and 2020 will bring so many exciting projects: debuts at the Konzerthaus Berlin, Wigmore Hall (London), 92Y (New York), Gardner Museum (Boston), deSingel (Antwerp) and Toppan Hall (Tokyo) among others, appearances at festivals such as Toronto Summer Music, Miami Piano Festival and the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, recitals in the Building Bridges series upon the invitation of Sir András Schiff, releases of recordings on the Hyperion and Steinway labels, appearances with numerous orchestras in Europe and North America, and much more. I wish you all a joyous and fruitful 2020, and hope our paths shall cross during my travels!
Soundbite: Bach’s Partita No. 6 BWV 830
Listen to Nicolas perform his own virtuosic Etudes for Piano.